What Candy Has Pork in It?

I know it can sound weird, but did you know that the candies you like so much are non-vegan? What do candy and veganism have to do with one another? Apparently, nothing. In reality, a lot. The main reason is one small ingredient. Gelatin. It’s easy to understand that candies have gelatin. The truth is that it’s news to many people that the gelatin used in those candies is made out of animal parts, mainly pork. But then, why is there pork gelatin in candies? 

Gelatin is a component used as a stabilizer or thickening agent for candy. Besides, the use of gelatin is what gives the chewy, gel-like texture that is so characteristic of candies like gummy bears or marshmallows. 

The next obvious question is: What is gelatin made of after all? Gelatin is a protein made out of collagen that can be found in pigs’ and cows’ bones, skin, cartilage, and fat. If you are vegan or considering going vegan, then this article is definitely for you, unlike candy. 

List of Candy With Pork Gelatin

Below you’ll find a list of candies that contain pork gelatin. Keep on reading and you’ll find some vegan options, which do not include pork gelatin in their ingredients. 

Gummy Bears 

Let’s start with the most adorable and delicious candy ever: Gummy Bears. Unfortunately for many, gummy worms and really anything gummy can go in this category as well. Why is that? Because one of the main components of gummy candies is gelatin. Gelatin is the component that gives bears, worms, or whatever shape they are sold these days, that bouncy texture that we all like so much.

Marshmallows

Typically, marshmallows are made of 3 ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. Why is there gelatin in marshmallows? Gelatin is what helps the foam stabilize and is what gives marshmallows that exquisite gooey texture. Good thing is that they are now making vegan marshmallows versions. 

Candy Corn

The small pyramid-shaped with a warm vanilla and rich marshmallow taste has pork gelatin as one of its main ingredients. The reason for gelatin to be present in candy corn is the same as for gummy bears and marshmallows: it’s what gives this candy its characteristic texture. 

Starburst Gummies

I’ll start with the fact that not all Starburst products have pork gelatin. The chews are made with beef gelatin (which is still an animal-derived ingredient, not pork though) and their minis have no animal-derived ingredients. Their gummies, however, have pork gelatin in their ingredients list. Even though they are not currently sold in the US, I do advise you to read the product label of these candies before you add them to your shopping cart. 

RELATED: 6 Zero & Low-Calorie Candies You Need to Try!

Nerds

Nerds are one of the best-selling candies in America for the last forty years. These colored mini balls with a distinctive fruity taste are sadly made of mostly sugar and pork gelatin. The same goes for the Nerds Ropes, which are made of the same ingredients as the Gummy Clusters. 

Altoids

I know what you are thinking. The tiny little mints sold in that distinctive and unforgettable metal tin cannot have gelatin in them. Well, sorry for being the one to break it to you, but they do. Exceptions go for their sugar-free and Artic versions which do not contain pork gelatin or any other animal-derived ingredient. All hope is not lost if you are a vegetarian. Find one of these two options and you can keep going around with the iconic metal tin in your purse or pocket. 

Chewing Gums 

Even though not all Chewing Gums have gelatin in their ingredients list, some do. One example is the “pellet” type ones, which contain gelatin to give them that chewy texture. Gelatin is also used in this type of gum to help shape them into that particular rectangular shape of theirs. Read the ingredients list before you buy chewing gums so you know if they contain pork gelatin, or any other animal-derived, ingredients in their composition. 

Do Skittles Have Pork?

Good news for all of us you love skittles: they do not contain gelatin or any ingredients derived from animal products. In short, they are vegan candies! At least the original varieties of Skittles are. Some special editions may contain animal-derived ingredients so the best advice I can give you is to always read the label. You’ll find more information on how to identify pork in your candy below.

Are Jolly Rancher Gummies Made with Pork?

Even though some Jolly Rancher candies are indeed made with pork, Jolly Rancher Gummies do not contain pork or gelatin in their ingredients. This means that, if you are vegan and you are reading this, Jolly Rancher Gummies is a guilt-free candy you can enjoy. 

The gummies are not the only candy that is vegan at Jolly Rancher. Their Hard Candy, Lollipops, Stix Candy, Candy Canes, Awesome Twosome Bites, and Jelly Beans are all vegan options that contain no pork gelatin or other animal-derived ingredients. The same cannot be said about their Chews or their Jelly Hearts which have gelatin as one of their main ingredients. Still, there are a lot of options at Jolly Rancher for those who are trying to look for animal-free candies. 

Do Haribo Gummy Bears Have Pork Gelatin?

Haribo Gummy Bears have pork gelatin as one of their main ingredients. The exception goes for the ones produced in Turkey. Turkey-produced Haribo Gummy Bears are made with beef gelatin instead of its pork version. Even though it still contains an animal-derived ingredient, which doesn’t make them vegetarian friendly, Haribo Gummy Bears made in the company’s Turkey factory are Halal certified. 

How to Know if a Product Contains Pork?

The old fashion way: by reading the labels and ingredient lists. You’ll be surprised by how many products do have pork in them. From toothpaste to shampoos and even wine. The list is immense.

What should you be looking for on labels so you can avoid products that contain pork? I made a list for easier understanding:

•          Gelatin – made out of pork skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones

•          Lard – made out of melted pork fat

•          Animal Fat – also made out of pork fat, as the name indicates

•          Animal Glyceride – made out of the fat removed from pork’s bones

•          Hydrolysed Animal Protein – made out of pork meat

•          Glycerin – made out of pork fat

Does this mean that if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or halal, you cannot eat any type of candy? Fortunately, no, that is not the case. If you are looking for candy alternatives that do not use gelatin or any animal-based ingredients, you should be looking for candies with agar-agar, carrageenan, pectin, or guar gum, on their ingredients list.

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!